China’s HNA Group has celebrated the launch of Air Changan, its new passenger carrier based in Xi’an, the capital of northern China’s Shaanxi province.
The new airline took off for the first time on Monday 9 May, flying from its home base of Xi’an Xianyang International Airport to the port city of Zhuhai, in southern China’s Guangdong province.
The launch marks a revival of the former Xi’an-based Chang An Airlines, which first started flying in 1993 and later merged with Hainan Airlines, another HNA Group carrier.
Air Changan will initially operate a fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft on domestic routes to Zhuhai and Haikou, before gradually expanding its route map to other cities across China. The airline has also stated its plans to link important cities along the ancient Silk Road, which could include destinations in Central Asia and the Middle East.
HNA Group has expanded its airline portfolio rapidly in recent years, with the launch of several new Chinese carriers including Fuzhou Airlines, GX Airlines and Urumqi Air, and earlier this year it unveiled plans to create Ningbo Airlines.
It has also transformed its Shanghai-based cargo carrier, Yangtze River Express, into a passenger airline, and expanded the scope of Lucky Air, Tianjin Airlines, West Air and Capital Airlines to include international flights.